Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

How to encourage more young people to envisage a degree in ICT ?

Discussion

The recent ICT in schools survey shows that students and teachers in Europe are keen to "go digital". The computer numbers have doubled since 2006 and most schools are now "connected", but use of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) and digital skill levels are very uneven. How can we make the ICT skills and training  available to all students and teachers in Europe? Is it a good way to spark youth interest in ICT career?

How we can encourage youth to choose ICT degree and later pursue their career in ICT? What other ideas do you have in order to increase the number of ICT professionals and fill 1 MLN jobs in ICT gap

 

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Comments

Vaclav Horak's picture

Do you know Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs? What do you think about it? Do you want to become an active supporter of the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs or even Make your pledge now? Next deadline is 31 May 2013. The pledges will be presented at the Digital Agenda Assembly in Dublin on 19-20 June 2013. More on http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/make-your-pledge-now
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's picture

In my view the GC4J should also showcase, incorporate, scale up and role out on European level already existing successful national Grand Coalition for Jobs initiatives. The European Center for Women and Technology (ECWT) is collecting good examples of national initiatives in regard to safeguarding the gender dimension of the GC4J. A good example of a national GC4J success story is the WING project led by the German Aerospace Academy (ASA), supported by the Ministry for Finances and Economy in Baden-Württemberg and more than 20 private and non-profit actors joining forces to support the re-entry of women in STEM professions leading to more than 50% employment after completing the different modules including: competency-vouchers, workshops, groupcoaching, quality certification, a six month traineeship and complemented with clustering / networking of participants. After the initial good outcomes, the project is now prolonged until end of 2014. For more information about the WING project and other examples: eva.fabry(at)womenandtechnology.eu

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Manus Hanratty's picture

More ICT teaching at schools will encourage more young people to take up an ICT career. Right now the problem exists at all levels from first year primary school (age 5) right through to third level education and on. Vocational education is the most powerful way to bridge the skills gap, particularly in the short to medium term. Two immediate things are needed today: starting in September every country should sign up to provide first year primary school children with education through a tablet device. This is the best time to start. At the other end of the spectrum we need to dramatically increase support for vocational training particularly for the unemployed people who should upskill with ICT and help bring Ireland back to its lead position as a centre of ICT activities. FIT (Fast track to IT) has plans to conduct more training not only in Ireland but across the EU. www.fit.ie
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David Osimo's picture

With all the buzz about ICT startups, and movies such as "The Social Network", ICT jobs are now seen as more attractive by young people. One problem is that not all ICT jobs are about starting up a company; mostly require proficiency in scientific disciplines such as maths which are not popular. So we might turn out to have lots of web designer but few data scientists.
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Katarzyna Szkuta's picture

Dear Manus, Thank you for your reply. Two things came to my mind. First, the ICT survey shows that even if schools have equipment, they rarely use it. Will be the same for tablets? Do we need a real change in educations methods too? The second question is, are the methods for teaching young children that from they very early life use tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices the same as for unemployed people who may never have contact with ICT? Curious to hear more from FIT perspective.
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Katarzyna Szkuta's picture

We definitely need role models that go beyond startup hype. Certainly data scientists are much less visible in media so there is a space for new initiatives promoting data analysis skills. Even more importantly, since Gartner predicts that in three years 4.4 million IT staff will be working on big data projects, with 1.2 million in Western Europe alone: http://www.zdnet.com/youre-a-data-what-five-jobs-that-will-win-out-in-th...
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's picture

The Grand Coalition needs to focus on relevant 'applied' technologies where developments are
a) needed to improve quality of life and
b) demand for employees exceeds supply.
The case of geotechnologies is an example where both aspects are covered. Freedom of information has brought a surge in products and tools to make our cities cheaper to run, agriculture more efficient and services more effective. Yet we have a real shortage in technicians, data analysts, graduates and scientists. The reason for this is that geo information technologies have not been integrated into education, they are perceived as difficult and not relevant.
Only a few enlightened countries (Finland for example) seem to recognise the real significance of these technologies.
So the focus must be on encouraging decision makers to become aware of the potential of applied ICT in helping Europe develop. You can visit our project seeking to develop the use of geotechnologies and geo-media in schools at http://www.digital-earth.eu

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Phil Thompson's picture

The prevailing model of ICT teaching in UK schools has been "operator training" for Microsoft Office products, by and large. Creating word documents, powerpoint presentations, spreadsheets etc. We have had very little programming or "computer science" instruction, although the movement around the Raspberry Pi single board computer may influence that in the future. It seems odd that buying new low spec hardware might be necessary to influence teaching practices, as the existing equipment could be booted into the same Operating System as a Raspberry Pi, but perhaps that's the sort of step change we need - make a computer cheap and friendly rather than an expensive box surrounded by restrictions. In an EU discussion the linguistics of what is "ICT", "Computer Science" etc may need explaining between participants from different Member States.
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Katarzyna Szkuta's picture

Thom, agree that ICT education should be not about teaching how to handle simple Office applications. Programming skills are much more important for the future professions. But also, as Rick Chandler in his opinion in Computer Weekly points out that we need teachers that are better prepared for teaching ICT. "The current school cohort is digitally native; ICT is evident in every activity of their lives except their education. They are able to research, through the internet, every topic they need but lack a valid curriculum and teacher guidance on achieving it." As for the definitions, point taken. ICT, Computer Science, STEM subjects definition need to be introduced in the discussion to have a common ground for debate.
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Ian Clifford's picture

Parents have a role to play in helping their children understand the entrepreneurial opportunities ICT could offer them in their careers. Parents are not supported or encouraged to do this. I wrote a blog about this a few months ago under the title "A Golden Age of Entrepreneurs" http://iancli.blogspot.co.uk
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